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Green Property Pioneers Emerge on Ko Samui, Thailand
A new breed of environmentally responsible real estate developments is emerging on the tropical island resort destination of Ko Samui, where an explosion of growth in recent years has raised environmental concerns amongst residents and investors
By: Cascade Villas
One such developer, award winning environmentalist and film maker Mick O’Shea of Cascade Villas Samui claims that ‘with sound planning and an environmentally conscientious approach, it’s possible to reduce a luxury villas carbon footprint by around 50%’. Energy and resource efficiency applications at Cascade Villas include water self sufficiency under normal usage levels, planted walls, solar reflective windows, ceiling and wall insulation, extensive use of onsite carbon neutral building materials in the form of hundreds of tons of granite rock and the integration of solar pumps and solar panels. Mick states that ‘one of our main goals is to prove that investors can have the best of both worlds, including a high yielding real estate investment along with the peace of mind that comes with investing in a more sustainable future’
The futuristic new development of Aqualina Samui has gone so far as to integrate planted roofs with grass to create a cooling thermal mass that helps bring down internal temperatures of houses naturally. There is strong evidence to suggest that purchasing properties that incorporate green technologies today can pay off handsomely over the longer term. A recent study released by the US Environmental Protection Authority reveals that for every $1 reduction in a homes utility bills the value of property increases by $20. With energy prices rising along with social concern for the environment globally it is likely that the return on energy efficiency investments will grow accordingly.
Henri Young, Director of Marketing for international property group Raimon Land states “People are coming here from parts of the world where environmental concerns are important. Energy consumption is the main priority,” he says. Henri points out that a shift in re-assessing the build environment in Thailand is being spurred on, in part by foreign investors. “We’re finding that especially in the resort areas, it’s largely driven by foreign demand,”
The world’s largest real estate corporation CB Richard Ellis, with offices on Ko Samui is aiming to help lead the green revolution. Last year, their corporate headquarters in the USA announced the company’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2010. The firm also said they plan to assist their clients with carbon reduction programs.
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